Ping (zestyping) wrote,

Submissions for the Ontario Citizens' Assembly.

I made two submissions to the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform. One is a plea for a simple and understandable system and the other is a warning about the bizarre behaviour of transferable vote systems using the diagrams produced by my election method simulations.

Here are my current thoughts on a decent electoral system to propose:
  • Your ballot has two parts: a vote for a candidate in your local district and a vote for a party.
  • Your local vote elects the representative of your local district. In your local district, more than one candidate can run for the same party, and you can vote for as many options as you like.
  • Your party vote determines the representation of parties in the legislature. Extra seats are awarded so that the composition of parties in the legislature matches the proportion of votes that each party got. The extra seats go to the candidates who got the most votes among those that didn't otherwise win.
In high-fallutin' terminology this is mixed member proportional with open party lists and approval voting in local districts.

Why do i like this system?
  • Parties get fairer representation in the legislature. Right now if 10% of voters support the Green Party but are scattered over many districts (e.g. 10% in each district) the Green Party wins no seats. The party vote ensures that 10% of the seats will be Green to represent that 10% of the voters, no matter how the districts are gerrymandered.
  • You still get a local representative who is accountable to you. The local representative is more accountable than they are in the current system, because they are not guaranteed votes from the voters who like their party. They may have to compete with other candidates running for the same party. You can even vote for a local candidate that you like better in a different party, while still supporting your party with your party vote.
  • Your vote for a local representative can't be "split" or "spoiled" by the addition of more candidates, as under the current system. Approval voting frees you from having to choose between the lesser of two evils; you can vote for both if you want.
  • The extra seats that are added to achieve proportionality are accountable to voters, because they still depend on public support. (In other proportional systems, the party decides who gets the extra seats.)
  • It's not too hard to explain how this works. The effects of your votes are fairly direct and easy to understand.
If you're into elections and electoral systems, i'm curious to hear your feedback on my recommendations.
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